Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Movin' On Up

One of the great things I achieved with finishing school was the means to get a lease on a house. Why a lease? Well at this moment I don't think I'm going to be in town for too many years; the apartment was WAY too small; and this house is within 1 minute of school since I've decided to take a few grad courses to keep the grant money rolling in.

Its a 2150 sq ft 2 bed, 1 study, and 2.5 bath. The rooms are all very large. The house seems a perfect place for me and the gf to move everything we own into it. The cats have much more room to play and to sleep.

Currently, the job prospect at Austal fell through. They seem to need more Mechanical Engineers. My talents allow me to play in a lot of different fields and hold hybrid positions (and this is what they were discussing with me), but they need more specifics at the moment. There are other opportunities around at the moment so not all hope is lost. I have not negotiated a salary at my current place of employment and there are a few places I will be applying to within the next few weeks. I hope by mid-January to be settled in for whatever job I end up at.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Closing Arguments

An era ends on Saturday the 6th at 2:00pm. I finally graduate college and enter into unknown territory. Its unknown territory because I really don't know how things are supposed to go nor what I'm supposed to do now that this phase is over. In a way, school was pretty simple for me in that I always knew what I had to do.

Graduate school is there on the horizon, but now it has become one of those "do it soon" things. I'm deathly afraid that I'll grow satisfied with life and settle for a Masters degree from South Alabama. Not that its a BAD school, but I feel that I've proven to myself that I can hang and succeed in a much more challenging environment. Something challenging in the Computer Engineering field gets me very excited and psyched-up. And I think that sums up my displeasure with USA; because it courses are mostly of a simplistic nature and do not challenge me. I don't feel the panicky need for cramming or ceaseless studying anymore like I used to. I don't think its just "coasting" either; I REALLY feel let down by most of my senior-level classes. The Computer Engineering-specific courses have been VERY disappointing for a variety of reasons. Those reasons mostly because of tenured professors seemingly stuck in the 1980s. Its quite possible that I expected too much when going into this semester; I had fully expected these courses to be the culmination of everything else. I expected them to be the explanation of the unexplained. But all they were was just a continuation, a repeat, or a huge waste of time.

I hope I never get satisfied with what I have accomplished. In my life's experience, I KNOW for a fact that I am at my best when I am challenged and forced to adapt or fail. I absolutely must never forget that doctoral work waits for me in the field of my choice and that it awaits me as the ultimate challenge. I'd like to believe I'll get my PhD before I turn 35; but its going to take some effort on my part not to give in like I did back then.

The next 6 days are going to be pure hell on earth and I'm glad I had a bit of vacation time before it all comes to an end.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great day, great week, great month, great year

The best thing I ever did was come back to school. It has literally changed my life. I was lost and searching for something I could not find and a whole new world opened up before my eyes. Old gifts, old passions, and old memories came rushing back and over time I have finally discovered who I really am. It is impossible to describe how fulfilling it is to find your own identity and it is impossible to comprehend unless you've been there. I have never been so excited for my own future and I encourage anyone contemplating returning to school to put everything you have into it; because you will receive that effort back by more than another order of magnitude.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Positive Day

Well today I took my cat, Tyler Durden, to the vet; he seems to have been having urinary tract problems. He seemed to be in pain and didn't move very much. He didn't eat, drink, or use the litter box. During the second day of this, I couldnt take it anymore: I decided to eat the big emergency fee and just say "fuck it". The older version of me would have bought into the "wait until the last minute" that I inherited from my father. Tyler might well have been dead from a ruptured bladder at that point and I'd have never forgiven myself.

He's chilling out at the vet, who is now monitoring him to make sure he can urinate on his own. They sedated him and used manual pressure to get him to urinate. Seems that I'm going to need the special food for him. I don't care though, I'm just glad he's alright.

Today I also finally figured out how to get Altera's software suite working on my computer (mostly). The software that comes with their DE2 board is OLD. I run Vista64 on my quad-core and if I need XP, I run a virtual machine.

I successfully was able to build/generate a NiosII chip/environment and can download and run programs on it. Next step is to get the MicroC/OS-II port to work with the development environment. School in 8 hours, so I'm going to bed.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Updates

So my niece Reagan was born on Friday afternoon. 6lbs 13ozs and a bundle of joy to go with it. I guess its been said many times, but babies that are related to you in some way bring out much happiness.

I won't say it made me reflect on my life when I wouldn't have otherwise, because thats a common occurrence for me. But it did make me think about what I want for my own children in the future. Maybe I'll discuss that sometime.

More ketchup:
So I graduate from the University of South Alabama on December 6th with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering. I must say it has been a very long and hard-fought battle; many have died in my wake. I feel so lazy lately, but I seem to be getting the work done and getting the grades I want. I'm unsure if its because I'm used to doing MORE work to get good grades and that I've just gotten really good at learning; or if the classes are just a lot easier. One would think the senior and graduate level courses would be more difficult. I find my world-experience prepares me for the more applied nature of these courses.

I'm attempting to get a Research Assistantship (RA) at Georgia Tech for Spring Semester in their PhD program for Computer Engineering. Yeah, I'm skipping the Masters program altogether. I really want to do original research and don't want to ride in on someone's lab-coattails for work I could have done myself. I plan on doing research involving Machine Intelligence with Aerospace and/or Military applications.

I find a lot of PhD-people in this field really ARE NOT well-versed in a broad sense. I realize PhD-work is supposed to be very specific, but I don't think its worth much in a career situation unless one is at least up-to-date with the rest of the field. Why learn about Machine Intelligence if you don't know much about CPU-design?

The Holy Grail of Artificial Intelligence is Transcendence of thought from a machine. Not a day goes by that I don't think about the different aspects of how such a monumental task could be accomplished. There are many different facets to the design of such a thing covering a large field in Computing and Biology. If I had the startup capital, I would go pick up about 20 top students from around the world and bring them together to build it. I'd bring several Mathematicians, distributed computing wizards, Neural Network and Fuzzy Logic masters, and a couple very imaginative geniuses. What I've learned in my education is that CPU/GPU speed is totally off the charts compared to even 5 years ago. The parallel processing capabilities of the human brain haven't been matched yet, but I'd bet something more primitive could have already been surpassed by one of the ATI or Nvidia GPUs.

So what if it wouldn't be as smart as a human. Giving a machine the learning capabilities of even just a cat or a dog would put a big "do you remember when?" bookmark in history. I'm being extremely over-simplistic here, but I don't care to discuss some of the finer details on implementation on a blog.

Back to school tomorrow. At least my AC works again.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Luck of the Irish

So it appears I am super lucky. I come home from class and my AC in my apartment is shot. It blows room temperature air and thus is little more than expensive fan. I have to call maintenance tomorrow and hope for a quick fix. My niece is being born tomorrow morning too. Looks like my schedule will be quite hectic.

The Day After

So maybe after watching last night's Southpark episode, I might have been a bit grossed out.  Anyone else?

I love Southpark. They are able to point at glaring holes in everything from politics to religion and exploit them for great satire.  I wonder if last night's episode was more about shock-value.

For those of you that don't know, it involves George Lucas and Steven Speilberg RAPING Indiana Jones.  At first it is metaphorically and there is some auditory assistance.  Later on, however, Stan begins having very visual dreams and other characters have very vivid flashbacks of what they "saw" in the movie.  And its extremely graphic... I cannot believe they got that on TV.  Not that I say it shouldnt be there, but you'd think the censors would come out in full-force against that one.  I'm still waiting on the fallout from it; but may be waiting a while because of all the market calamity.

Here's a link to a nice description

GM is burning! Hoorah!  Years of mismanagement, overpaying workers to build shit-cars and shit-trucks, and resistance to mandatory regulations (like seatbelts!) are finally cashing in.  I made a prediction 2 years ago that GM would crash and burn in 5 years.  I started thinking they might possibly turn it around, but now they've got the Volt rushed (when the Li-Ion batteries catch fire, you heard it from me!) and their massive financial losses without corrective actions are coming to bite them in the ass!

Let em burn!!!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Where does the greener grass grow?

Here I am again.  I've brought the cliche' "long overdue update" again.  I might even push it further by not posting again for several years.  It appears a couple things have changed with regards to the blog itself; its more of a google-owned entity now and it shows - much more mature software.

I've got 1 month and 28 days left until I finally graduate college.  It appears the last post I made was in a time long ago and a galaxy far, far away.  I know what happened and I know why I'm here.  I'll let my hard work speak for itself and leave it at that.

Car has been giving me fits lately.  Replaced an O-ring on the head-to-waterpump neck (it was missing).  Water that came out from its removal dripped into the alternator.  So I guess I felt like being a dumbass and cranking the car before the water evaporated.  Two days later, the alternator-is-dead light came on when I went to get the mail.  $150 later, I've got a lifetime warrantied refurb in there cranking out the amps.

A/C still doesnt work, I guess thats my next project.  I dont see myself being able to fix it in a reasonable amount of time, however.  I have a feeling that its the evaporator being old causing the system to lose the R134.  Unforunately, it is located behind the passenger-side airbag and requires removing the entire dash.  Wouldnt you know it, the dash in the SC300 is supremely time consuming to remove.  If I do all that work, I'm going to want new interior parts too.

Turbo kit and parts are sitting in my apartment... still.  Megasquirt2 is assembled over on my bench.  I've been putting it off.  Mainly due to anxiety of it not working in the car since I used a bobo-made DB37 cable for my hacked harness.  I have a new half-harness from diyautotune sitting in front of me.  I'm assembling a new DB37 cable with it and will be making a better conversion harness for my SC300 after its built.  I bought a nice heat gun for it too.  Lots of stuff to do on that front, but its still: MS2 on stock fuel, install bigger injectors and tune, install turbokit and tune, be happy.

I'm done for tonight.  Too much coding, too little sleep.  Is it bad when you have the same dream over and over again but alternating in C#, 68K assembly, and VHDL?